Frequently Asked Questions

Developer and Builder FAQ's

 

How disruptive will the installation process be?

UPL personnel and contractors work very hard to keep surface damage and other disruptions to a minimum. Whenever possible, UPL bores beneath roadways to minimize or eliminate the disruption of transportation. Similarly, horizontal boring along easements keeps surface damage to a minimum. By installing lines along the outer edge of easements, damage to individual properties is kept to a minimum. As the distribution lines are installed, professional restoration crews restore the surface and areas affected by the pipeline.

 

Will the natural gas pipelines be safe?

Yes. The distribution lines installed by the co-op meet the construction specifications of regulated gas utilities. In addition, the co-op's line installation is subject to audit by the state's public utility commission. Systems are monitored by professional maintenance crews to identify and correct any problems in a timely manner. The safety of the residents of your community is the co-op's primary consideration.

 

Why don't nearby natural gas utilities extend their service areas to provide natural gas service to our development community? 

All states govern the tariffs (the "rate base") that natural gas utilities are allowed to charge their customers. Most state gas utility tariffs lack any incentive for gas utilities to extend their distribution lines into unserved residential areas. 

 

How does UPL get around the problem of line extension limitations?

Natural gas cooperatives are exempt from regulation by the state's public utility commission ("PUC"). Since the co-op's rates are not subject to PUC jurisdiction and rate base policies, the co-op has the flexibility to install distribution lines that exceed the line extension policies of most gas utilities. Because of the increased flexibility in establishing fees and rates, the co-op can bring cost effective natural gas service to communities that might otherwise not be able to obtain service from a regulated gas utility.

 

What is a Non-Profit Gas Co-op?

  • A group of homeowners that own the natural gas system and make their own decisions on gas service.
  • All costs are passed on at actual cost.
  • Fully regulated by the PUCO for pipeline safety and compliance.
  • Governed by an elected Board of Directors.
  • Capable of making advanced gas purchasing decisions.
  • In all other respects, very similar to other large utilities: monthly meter reading, monthly billing, budget billing, direct payment from checking account, credit card payments, etc

 

What's the relationship between UPL and Cooperatives?

  • UPL is a pipeline engineering, construction, maintenance and service company.
  • The Cooperatives have contracted with UPL to build and operate their gas pipeline systems.
  • The Cooperatives own the gas pipeline system after it is finished and put into service.
  • The Co-ops are owned and governed by its members.

 

How will natural gas benefit potential buyers and the community?

  • Cost Effective: U.S. Department of Energy statistics demonstrate that natural gas is the least expensive source of residential energy. Recent statistics show heating a home with electricity costs almost 300% more than heating with natural gas; fuel oil costs about 50% more; and propane costs about 70% more to use.
  • Consistent Comfort: From a comfort point of view, gas heat is presumed to be ‘warmer’ than heat generated by an electric heat pump. Electric heat pumps provide air from the registers at a temperature that is near or below body temperature - making homes heated in this fashion less comfortable. In contrast, natural gas heating systems provide air from the registers at a temperature 20 to 30 degrees above normal body temperature – making homes heated with natural gas forced air feel warm and more comfortable than homes heated with electricity. Next to the heating and cooling system, the water heater is the largest energy user in your home. Natural gas water heaters deliver hot water faster and at a more consistent temperature than electric units. Plus natural gas water heaters cost 50% less to operate than electric units; ensuring homeowners their monthly energy costs should be rather low compared to alternatives.
  • Environmentally Friendly; Natural gas is the cleanest, most environmentally friendly fossil fuel available - including coal or oil generated electricity. Homes using natural gas as an energy source are responsible for 99% less sulfur dioxide; 90% less nitrogen oxides; 95% less particulate matter; and 40% to 50% less carbon monoxide than homes using electricity as a total energy source due to the pollution caused by electric generation. These are the "criteria" air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act that contribute to urban smog and ozone depletion.

 

What impact will natural gas service have on property values in our community?

According to a consensus of area realtors in the communities where UPL has installed natural gas distribution systems, homes connected to natural gas enjoy an average appreciation in property resale value of 5% to 10% over similar homes without gas service. This beneficial increase in property value is seldom, if ever, reflected in the home's value for property tax purposes. In addition, connection to natural gas service can have aesthetic value as well by eliminating an external propane tank or an external or internal oil tank.

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